[review] El Musico Loco 83 Fuzz (by LordRiffenstein)

LordRiffenstein, all-around tone freak and purveyor of great tone.

El Musico Loco

El Musico Loco is a 1-man operation. Chris Bradford is a US ex-pat living in Spain. He is hand-building a small but expanding range of pedals. He hand builds the pedals himself so there’s some lead time when you order. You do get great build quality in return though. El Musico Loco are expanding their range of pedals and have some cool stuff happening!

83 Fuzz

The 83 Fuzz is a reproduction of the old Ibanez 83 Fuzz. The Ibanez version is probably one of the rarest pedals ever. At the moment there are only 3 of them known. It is however a very good sounding fuzz so a repro makes total sense. As usual with El Musico Loco pedals, the enclosure has a very nice engraving, luckily, the box is smaller than the original Ibanez. The layout mimics the original so there are 2 dials and 2 switches. The dials are balance and fuzz depth. The Balance controls the output, the fuzz depth controls the amount of gain you get. The switch on the right is the on/off, the one on the left does a tone change between a brighter and darker sound.

The pedal in use

I can’t really say what type of circuit this fuzz is, but you can contact Chris @ El Musico Loco and he will gladly explain it. When I was testing it, I was going thru a bit of a fuzz-craze, I had a bunch of them at home for testing and reviewing and there were some fuzz-hot-shots around.

It took me a bit of time to figure out the 83 Fuzz because the balance and fuzz depth are interactive. There’s plenty of output available so you can use the fuzz to drive a crunch channel but it works equally well into a clean amp. The fuzz depth has a good range, it has a bit of a jump when you turn it up but I guess this isn’t a low gain fuzz, once you have got it going, there’s enough room to tweak it.

The 2 tone settings from the left switch are nicely chosen. The brighter one isn’t overly bright so it won’t take your head off, the other settings isn’t too muddy either. It obviously depends on the guitar and amp you are using but I tried Teles and LPs and had no problems dialing in great tones.

So I guess everybody is wondering how it compares to an original. Well, as Bart from EffectsDatabase is one of the lucky owners of an all original 83, I was able to a/b the 2 versions. The El Musico Loco has gone thru a couple of revisions and I can say that the final version is VERY close to the original. There are always going to be small differences because of the tolerances in the parts but I’d say that the El Musico Loco comes as close as possible to the original, as close as 2 originals would sound.

Do I like it? Yes, I had a lot of fun using it and surprisingly, I really liked it with my LP, the 2 tonal settings worked really well when switching between bridge and neck humbuckers. And even the darker sounding setting worked great for a liquid, fat sustaining lead tone with the neck humbuckers.

The El Musico Loco 83 fuzz is highly recommended if you are looking for something that’s outside of the box. There will be some clips soon and you will finally be able to hear this awesome sounding reproduction!

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